NSRI Water Safety Initiative
According to the Medical Research Council of South Africa, over the past five years, 3 000 deaths by drowning have been recorded. Netcare 911 also revealed that drowning is one of the leading causes of unnatural death among children in South Africa. It is for this reason that Transnet National Ports Authority has decided to fund six of the NSRI’s WaterWise Academy Instructors around South Africa. WaterWise Academy has taught over 175 000 children since its inception in 2006, targeting children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The urgent need for a sea rescue organisation in South Africa was highlighted in 1963 when 17 fishermen drowned after their trawler sank near Still Bay due to the lack of a rescue service. Following this incident, Miss Pattie Price (whose own life had been saved by life boat rescue in the British Channel) began a committed letter-writing campaign to motivate the formation of a sea rescue organisation. Captain Bob Deacon and Mr Ray Lant were the first volunteers to respond to this call. The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) was established in 1967 when it acquired its first rescue craft – a 4.7m inflatable boat called Snoopy donated by the Society of Master Mariners.
WaterWise Academy is the educational arm of the National Sea Rescue Institute, with a vision to proactively prevent drowning tragedies.
Our primary focus is on children between the ages of 9 and 14 from underpriviledged communities, as they are most at risk of drowning. (Medical Research Council)
Even competent swimmers can drown so, instead of teaching kids to swim, we teach them how to rescue their peers.
Our aim is to make youngsters aware of the dangers around water and to give them hands-on practical experience of how to act in an emergency. Who to call for help and what to do while they wait for help to arrive.
If teens are empowered with the valuable life skill of basic bystander CPR, fewer water related incidents would result in fatal drownings.
For more on the NSRI and WaterWise go to http://www.nsri.org.za